Jodie Foster Talks 'Money Monster,' Solving Female Director Gap: "It's Not As Cut-and-Dry as Everyone Thinks"

Julie Taymor and Jodie Foster - Getty - H 2016
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Julie Taymor and Jodie Foster - Getty - H 2016

Speaking with Julie Taymor, Foster described 'Money Monster' as a character film, following three men "who are all struggling with a spiritual crisis about their own lack of self-worth."

Jodie Foster is sick of the female director question.

“We’re all looking forward to a day when we won’t have to have it anymore,” she said regarding the lack of women filmmakers while in conversation Wednesday with Julie Taymor at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.

However, “having been around and making movies for 50 years, the issues are way more complicated than the dialogue," Foster continued. "Saying, ‘Why are there no women directing mainstream franchises?’ is such a simple question that there are so many reasons. Some of them are about our psychology, our financial world, the global economy, any number of things. There are so many answers to that question that go back hundreds of years. It would be nice to have a more complex conversation and to be able to look at it as more than just a quota.”

She added: “It’s not as cut-and-dry as everyone thinks it is. I don’t think it’s a plot to keep women down collectively; it’s a bunch of people that weren’t thinking about it, including a lot of female executives who have risen to the top and have not made a dent in [securing opportunities for women filmmakers.]”

One reason might be because female directors have a different leadership style than male ones, Foster offered. “I was never sure about that, but I see that now,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard for people to understand how to treat me as a leader because they’re sometimes waiting for me to punch them in the face, or sometimes they’re waiting for me to say, ‘Oh gee, you sound so smart, why don’t I just do it your way?’… I’m neither one or the other, and sometimes it’s confusing for people. … Do you treat them the way you treat men? Maybe you don’t because we have different leadership styles.”

Foster has wanted to direct since she was 6 years old and shooting The Courtship of Eddie’s Father with Bill Bixby. “He was directing an episode, and my eyes got wide with ‘Oh my god, actors are allowed to direct!’” she said, adding that she started writing before directing because “I didn’t think I would ever be allowed to [direct], so I thought I had to come at it from a different direction.”

After helming 1991’s Little Man Tate, 1995’s Home for the Holidays and 2011’s The Beaver — which “were very personal films and, in some ways, they’re like a trilogy” — Foster is about to release Money Monster, a Wall Street thriller starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell. She described the Cannes-premiering title as a character film, following three men “who are all struggling with a spiritual crisis about their own lack of self-worth. These are people who don’t feel valuable enough, so they have to figure out ways to be valuable, and they go about it in different ways.”

Though Foster felt the story had to be a wide-appealing genre film, “something I never thought I wanted to do,” she said that in the future, “I really will be happy to go to less of a popcorn movie. It is a wonderful experience, but I feel like a lot of the stories I want to tell would be constrained in that format.” What will that be? After editing Money Monster for “a long, hard year — I’m ready to definitely never see my movie again, at least not for another 20 years." she said. "[Before I make another movie] I need to just go to bed for a while and figure out what I care about.”